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Chartiers Valley student resource officers to be honored

Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Less than two years after it was formed, the Chartiers Valley student resource officer program was recognized with a national award last week.

The district's program was designated a Model Agency by the National Association of School Resource Officers, based in California.

Collier police officers Bill Oslick and Steve Oberle and Scott officer Ed Povirk will be recognized at the annual School Safety Conference July 13 to 18 in Palm Springs, Calif.

School Resource Officer programs nationwide apply for the designation and are chosen based on three factors: being a certified police officer, being a mentor to students and acting as a teacher to students.

“You put all three together, and that encompasses what the SRO program is really all about,” said Kevin Quinn, president of the national association.

Chartiers Valley began using school resource officers in December 2012, following the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

The district contracts three officers from the Scott and Collier police departments to work as resource officers.

One of the most important tenets of the resource officers' job is acting as an informal counselor, said Ronald Yasher, school district coordinator of administrative services.

“The officers are out in the hallways, walking around the school, talking with students, talking with staff,” he said.

“They're working with and talking with students who may be in trouble to put them on the right path.”

The officers work with students who might be homeless, or have issues with mental health or substance abuse.

“Char-tiers Valley's SROs lead us in our effort to ensure our schools are a safe environment for all students, faculty and staff,” district Superintendent Brian White said.

All of the district's campus safety personnel are NASRO-certified, a distinction reached in January.

The certification requires training beyond that needed to become a school resource officer, including safety officer roles and responsibilities, effective communication with students, child abuse investigations, working with special needs students, substance abuse and addiction, school safety and emergency preparedness.

The national certification is not required of school resource officers.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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